Founded in 1824 in honor of America’s first scientist, Benjamin Franklin, The Franklin Institute is one of the oldest and premier centers of science education and development in the US, and is the most visited museum in Pennsylvania. Through 12 permanent exhibits and expansive programming, the Institute provides interactive learning experiences and resources that inspire a passion for learning about science and technology for learners of all ages and backgrounds. The Institute also hosts traveling exhibits that draw local, national, and international visitors to the museum, such as King Tut, the most visited museum exhibit in the world in 2007. The organization received a Center Advancement grant in 2016 to launch an expansive digital media initiative to amplify its interpretive programming and audience engagement. In 2017, The Franklin Institute received Center support to develop augmented reality technology to enhance its exhibition, Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor.
The Franklin Institute will enhance the visitor experience of its upcoming exhibition, Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor, with augmented reality (AR) technology that will bring to life 2,200-year-old artifacts from the burial site of China’s first emperor. Visitors will access AR experiences—which display digital pictures that fit seamlessly with the real-world surroundings of the galleries—through an app on their mobile devices. Terracotta Warriors includes 10 full-size ancient statues and nearly 150 artifacts, including Pre-Imperial Qin objects, Han pottery figurines, palace models, and painted warrior replicas. Dynamic computer-generated imagery will depict what the statues may have looked like when they were first built, and will help visitors more fully understand the science of how time and chemical processes affect artifacts. The exhibition, produced in partnership with the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, will open in the fall of 2017.
Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.